Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Housework Helps Ward Off Dementia

We've written before about the value of housework as a way to keep a loved one with dementia engaged and feel like they are contributing to the household. This is particularly true of mothers and grandmothers who were full-time homemakers earlier in life and derived a lot of their personal identity from a job well done. Fathers and grandfathers also took great pride in maintaining a showcase yard.

Today's U.S. News & World Report has an article about another benefit of housework -- besides staying on top of chores and maintaining a clean and orderly place. It's good for your heart and circulation system, which helps keep blood pumping to the brain and may help keep dementia at bay.

New research finds that seniors who expended the most energy doing chores, running errands, taking care of loved ones and simply going about their business were less likely to experience mental declines as they aged.

"All those things that you would never think of as exercise, they get our heart rate up and make our blood vessels pump blood," said study co-author Todd Manini, an assistant professor of aging and geriatric research at the University of Florida, Gainesville. "But we kind of ignored them in the past and thought mainly about volitional exercise, such as jogging. What this study is telling us is those other activities might also count for health benefits."
So grab that mop and lend a helping hand -- or accept one from a senior relative or friend -- and know you are providing an even bigger benefit to your health and to those you love. This is especially true if jogging is not for you!

Article: Routine Chores Might Help Keep Dementia at Bay

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